The announcement came in the early morning hours of Friday, almost ashamedly, as if there was something to hide. But both sides knew once the light of day was upon them, all the world would see what they had done.The New York Mets announced Friday morning they had agreed to a contract extension with their franchise player, third baseman David Wright.
The seven-year, $122 million deal is the richest contract in Mets’ history, eclipsing the deal signed by starting pitcher Johan Santana. Somehow, the Mets were able to dig through the cushions of their debt-ravaged couches to come up with a contract that will pay Wright an average of $17.4 million through the 2020 season, when he will turn 37.
Two recent extensions signed by star third basemen appear to have helped set the market. Tampa’s Evan Longoria agreed Monday to a $136.6 million, 10-year contract with the Rays that adds six guaranteed seasons and $100 million to his previous deal. It includes a team option for 2023 that could make the agreement worth $144.6 million over 11 years. The Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman signed a deal with Washington in February that guaranteed him $126 million for eight seasons, with a club option for 2020.
Wright would have been entering the final year of his previous deal, and there were brief nuggets of hope, thought or speculation that New York may not have the money available to sign their best player to a long-term extension. There was also hope, thought or speculation that the team might decide to test the trade market for Wright at some point this offseason, or at the trade deadline next July.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Phillies have a black hole at third base.
Wright batted .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBIs last season, and is the club’s career leader in several major offensive categories including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. He is a homegrown star, drafted by New York with the 38th overall pick in the 2001 draft.
Honestly, even if the Mets had decided to gauge the market for their start third baseman, it’s highly unlikely the Phillies would have been suitors. New York probably would have been leery of trading him within the division, the prospects required to land him would have been astronomical, and the price tag to lock him to a long term contract incurs a lot of risk, mainly because of the length of the deal.
With young third baseman Cody Asche in the minor league system, the Phillies will likely look at stopgap measures for third base this offseason, such as Kevin Youkilis, or in-house options like Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis, perhaps platooning with a left-handed hitting free agent like Eric Chavez.
The great news for Phillies fans is that they can continue to hate one of their most despised players in the National League. Perhaps that’s because Wright has hit .281/.349/.507 for an OPS of .857, with 27 HRs and 94 RBIs in his career against the Phils. The only team against which Wright has hit more homers is Atlanta, with 28.
Yeah, he’s been a real pain in the butt.
So, cross off another potential (albeit unlikely) third base solution for the Phils.
Trying to get excited for Kevin Youkilis, guys.